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Carnitas, Finally

Eric Eto | Nov 6, 2003 10:14 AM

There's something about eating carnitas (Mexican roast pork) that is so completely fulfilling. Unfortunately, I haven't really had decent carnitas anywhere in NYC, until very recently. Perhaps I haven't looked hard enough, but I suspect there's good stuff somewhere. When carnitas is made properly, it's a long, slow process, which includes simmering in fat, which renders out a lot of the fat from the pork, and then finishing off with a blast of heat in the fat to "fry" it. It's very similar to confit style cookery. There's a certain texture that occurs when carnitas is cooked this way -- a moist-dryness, slightly stringy, crunchy, bacony. It's similar to pulled pork, or pernil, but concentrated. Anyway, I had my first "real" NYC carnitas experience this week when I inadvertently ordered a carnitas taco from a taco truck called El Fogoncito #2 located on Roosevelt and 63rd St in Woodside. I wasn't expecting much from this new (to the neighborhood) taco truck, but I wanted to check it out since it's nearby. The ladies who run this taco truck have premade carnitas by the sealable-plastic-gallon-drink-jug-ful, and finish it on the grill. I've had carnitas from about a couple dozen taquerias in NYC, but I've always left disappointed, so I figured it was more than a pattern, but a certainty that "real" carnitas is just not what the local mexicans eat. I'll have to rethink this one.

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